Skills Assembly by Gad Tan |
A Skills Assembly session held by Orita Sinclair School of Design with designer Gad Tan of Pettycache Studio, 'Designing for Web' was catered to graphic designers who wanted to learn more about what it takes to design specifically for websites. The people who turned up though, came from various backgrounds and Gad did a wonderful job of ushering them into the world of web design. The introduction was well paced for complete beginners. He paused multiple times to help in technical aspects and a few guides worked in the background to help with any difficulties we faced while following the class.

As promised, he covered the basics of the web design process from the graphic designer's perspective. Gad is an Interactive Designer and Animator who has worked for reputable companies like Microsoft, so he led the designers well through and amongst the jargon of web design, which can be overwhelming and intimidating. Beyond the jargon and technicalities, he gave us really practical advice about the work between clients and web designers. From organization to designing  in a way that would compel visitors to actually scroll down and view the website content; it was a mini preview to the kind of work being done in the industry.

A participant mentioned how Gad had managed to simplify the process of building websites from scratch. She said, “I mainly work with print (as a graphic designer), and this session helped me understand all the terms related to building websites, something I'm not trained in.” More specifically, Gad went through the basics of html coding, and the processes of “slicing” and “folding”. Using Photoshop and Dreamweaver, he presented methods to slice images on Photoshop, exporting files to Dreamweaver as html files, and coding it from there. He also went into html5, which uses multiple coding languages (including Javascript) and with it's ability to incorporate animations and videos, is considered to be a 'flash killer'.

From organization to designing in a way that would compel visitors to actually scroll down to view the website content; it was a mini preview to the kind of work being done in the industry.  

It is however, increasingly useful and popular as tablets such as the iPad cannot load Flash components which are used on websites. He also taught In-line Style Sheets which is a tedious but noteworthy way of overcoming the need for links to pictures in emails. Basically, rather than sending links/attachments of pictures to inboxes that do not display them to protect their user, companies can send a chunk full of code that translates into the same picture. He also focused on site mapping, another area that graphic designers should be aware of, and explained more about information architecture and how to draw sitemaps that the developers could then execute in terms of coding.

Those who went in with their laptops and relevant software got hands on application and could bring their learning and hand coded website back with them but it was not difficult to follow the lesson with just a pen and paper. All of us went home with the free learning resources and alternative html programs that Gad introduced to us.

Overall, it was a good introduction to web design and I felt fortunate to be able to attend this workshop for free. The series of workshops is not over yet, so be sure to click on their website to find out more about the other workshops.

For note and material from the workshop, click here
Reviewed by Stephanie Ng and Roshni Shivaramakrishnan (Orita Sinclair)